Albion came from behind to reach the fourth round of the Emirates FA Cup with a hard-fought win over West Brom at the Hawthorns.
Graham Potter’s much-changed side trailed to Callum Robinson’s close-range goal early in the second half and despite going down to ten men for the last quarter of the match, after Cedric Kipre was sent off, West Brom seemed to be hanging on.
But Jakub Moder equalised with a powerful strike after being set up by fellow substitute Evan Ferguson with nine minutes to go to take the tie to extra time and the Polish international was involved again when his cross was converted by Neal Maupay for what turned out to be the winner in the 98th minute.
There were seven changes to the Albion side which began 2022 with a 3-2 win at Everton. Goalkeeper Kjell Scherpen and defender Odel Offiah came in for their first-team debuts and Pascal Gross, Steven Alzate, Danny Welbeck, Solly March and Shane Duffy, who was named captain. Zac Ashworth, son of Albion’s technical director Dan Ashworth, came off the bench in the second half for West Brom.
Offiah’s athleticism was evident on a couple of occasions when he got back to make important challenges and he relished getting forward too. One surge infield into West Brom territory set up a counter-attack which ended with March’s shot blocked for a corner.
Albion went close on 19 minutes when Gross’s pass sent Welbeck clear of Kipre. As David Button came out Welbeck tried to dink the ball past him, but the former Brighton keeper stuck out his left arm to save.
Enock Mwepu had to be replaced by Alexis Mac Allister midway through the half with what looked like a hamstring problem but Albion ended the half strongly, creating another good chance in stoppage time. Welbeck sent Maupay clear but Button spread himself superbly to block the Frenchman’s right-foot shot.
The hosts weren’t so wasteful, breaking the deadlock in the 47th minute. Karlan Grant led a breakaway down the right and dragged two defenders across before picking out Robinson in space and he clipped the ball past Kjell Scherpen from inside the six-yard box. Until then the keeper had barely been troubled.
Albion had a numerical advantage midway through the second half when Kipre picked up two yellow cards in as many minutes for fouls on Maupay and Trossard. Now Albion had momentum and it was substitutes Evan Ferguson and Moder who combined for the equaliser in the 81st minute. Ferguson helped on Cucurella’s ball in from the left and Moder sped into a gap before firing confidently past Button.
Ferguson thought he’d scored when he beat Button to a cross and guided the ball goalward, but it landed on top of the bar. Button then flung himself to his left to push away Mac Allister’s low drive from the edge of the box. Extra time it was.
Albion had the momentum and went ahead in the 98th minute. Moder was again involved with a right-wing cross dummied by Trossard and guided into the bottom corner by Maupay for his eighth goal of the season.
Ferguson was left frustrated again when he tapped in Moder’s cross but was flagged offside but Albion never looked like relinquishing the lead once they had established it.
Albion: Scherpen, Offiah (Cucurella 55), Veltman (Moder 75), Duffy, Burn; Gross, Alzate (Ferguson 75); Mwepu (Mac Allister 26), March; Welbeck (Trossard 55), Maupay.
Subs not used: Sanchez, Roberts, Leonard, Turns.